On December 3, the Brazilian National Agency for Health Monitoring (Anvisa) approved a bill authorizing the sale of medical hemp in pharmacies. However, the agency opposed the proposal to lift the ban on the cultivation of medicinal cannabis varieties in the country.
Brazilian companies will produce drugs with cannabinoids
The Anvisa press service said that the normative act will enter into force 90 days after publication in the newsletter. In the near future, the agency plans to develop rules governing the production, import, trade, packaging, and marketing of hemp preparations. Brazilian companies will have the right to buy raw materials abroad and produce medicines from it.
The Brazilian government, led by President Jair Bolsonaru, is not about to follow the example of Colombia and Uruguay in the field of cannabis cultivation. Bolsonaru supports the legalization of medical cannabis but condemns the creation of “legislative loopholes” that can be used to grow and consume recreational cannabis.
Patients will be able to purchase hemp preparations in the Brazilian market
In 2015, Anvisa included cannabis in the list of medicinal plants and transferred CBD from the list of prohibited substances to the register of controlled substances that can be used for medical purposes and do not cause physical dependence. The agency allowed doctors to issue prescriptions for drugs with CBD and THC. Patients suffering from chronic diseases have the right to import drugs with cannabinoids as prescribed by the doctor.
Under the new law, patients who are terminally ill or do not respond to traditional therapy will be able to buy drugs in pharmacies that contain more than 0.2% THC. All other Brazilians who have received a prescription from a doctor will be able to purchase products with a THC concentration of up to 0.2%.
The law on the legalization of the cultivation of medical hemp does not work
In November 2018, the Brazilian Senate passed a law to legalize the cultivation of cannabis for medical and research purposes. However, the government vetoed the regulation and prohibited the cultivation of hemp until the adoption of the rules governing groving. Anvisa developed a set of restrictions and held two public hearings, during which the document was criticized and returned for revision. However, there is one precedent in the country: patient associations gave the right to grow hemp, produce oil and distribute it among patients. Therefore, activists of the cannabis law reform movement hope that authorities will allow non-profit organizations to cultivate and process the plant.